How to use Archetypes to create content

How to use Archetypes to create content

Archetypes give your business a personality.

Think of them as 'shortcuts'. When you describe your brand as The Ruler, everyone you work with knows that your copy, videos, social posts and anything else you produce should have an authoritative, masterful tone.

They also know that you probably don't crack jokes or use a lot of slang. All that information is conveyed within two words: The Ruler.

What's in the Archetypes expansion pack?

The Archetypes expansion pack describes twelve archetypal characters. Each card explains the motives of the character with some examples from popular culture. And of course, there are the dark sides to each character. What happens when your ruler gets a bit too authoritative, for example?

The deck also includes Recipe cards. The Build Your Brand recipe card walks you through how to speak in the voice of different archetypes. 

For example, Pip Decks often combines the voices of The Sage and The Companion. Whoever picks up the pen to write for Pip Decks knows that we aim to provide a friendly helping hand to our customers based on years of collective experience. That helps us choose the right words.

How to choose archetypes for your customers

But what about other people? For example, the people you are trying to help - perhaps customers, clients or students. They can fulfil archetypal roles, too. The Way Ahead recipe card helps you identify and consider those archetypal voices inside your customer.

Archetypes in action

Watch Steve Rawling, Author of Archetypes (and Storyteller Tactics) as he shows you how each of the 12 Archetypes look in action.

Here, he delivers six versions of an advert for Storyteller Tactics showcasing The Ruler, The Artist and The Lover:

  1. The Ruler sells Storyteller Tactics
  2. Steve sells Storyteller Tactics to the Ruler in our customers
  3. The Artist sells Storyteller Tactics
  4. Steve sells Storyteller Tactics to the Artist in our customers
  5. The Lover sells Storyteller Tactics
  6. Steve sells Storyteller Tactics to the Lover in our customers

You can pick out key words that each character would use: 'the rules of storytelling' (Ruler), 'kaleidescope' (Artist) and 'stories you love' (Lover). Three totally different tones of voice, inspired by archetypes. 

In the next clip, Steve repeats the exercise but with the Explorer, Jester and Magician archetypes.

Again, you can pick out the words each archetype uses in the ads:

  • Fast track, getting lost somewhere unfamiliar, a map, a journey - The Explorer.
  • Jokes, anti-boring, step into the spotlight - The Jester.
  • Escapism, enchantment, magic and secret ingredients - The Magician.

Now see how The Warrior, The Caregiver and The Sage approach the same brief:

  • Learning the hard way, the school of hard knocks - The Warrior
  • Soft skills, support, wrap-around care - The Caregiver
  • Models and frameworks, templates, wisdom - The Sage

And finally, the Innocent, The Rebel and The Companion show how they'd do it.

  • Starting out, naivety, first steps - The Innocent
  • Tired of copying and trend-chasing, risk taking, rule breaking - The Rebel
  • Community, people like you, join in, we can do it - The Companion 

Now you try

Identify an archetypal character that works for your business, project, work or personal brand. You can choose an archetype of your own if this type of activity comes naturally to you - if not, though, the Archetypes expansion pack includes twelve archetypes (plus the details of their darker sides!).

Then take a look at everything you do and say: does it sound like something that aligns with that character? Does anything stand out or seem out of place?

For example, you might be a fun-loving party organiser, but your website, email signature or terms and conditions might sound a bit stuffy compared with your social media presence. Bring those materials in-line. Write them with the flair of The Jester, for example. 

Next time you sit down to write for your brand, write as if you were your chosen Archetypal character. See how it feels.

And remember, archetypes don't have to be fixed. You can borrow voices when appropriate. Even the most hard-nosed brands might want their customer support to channel The Caregiver. How many archetypal characters can you identify in your business?

Grab an Archetypes expansion pack to explore archetypes for your business, customer or product in more detail!

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